Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Cancer & Hematology provides the most advanced chemotherapy for effective treatment of oncology and hematology related diseases, yet combines this with a warm, comfortable and healing environment of care so that patients feel positive about their treatment and outcomes.
Chemotherapy drugs can be administered in a variety of different ways. Some chemotherapy is given orally and some intravenously, depending on the strength, convenience and regimen prescribed. Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Cancer & Hematology offers a variety of options for our patients. The following are a few of the most common methods:
Intravenous Chemotherapy Treatments
- Intravenous medications are administered directly into the blood stream through a variety of methods, such as peripheral IV or through a central venous catheter.
- Intravenous administration of medication allows for rapid entry into the body’s circulation, where it is carried throughout the body in the blood stream. This is the most common method of chemotherapy administration.
- Doses can be given as an IV bolus lasting from a few minutes to a few hours. Continuous infusions can be given over a few days or for weeks at a time. Portable pumps allow medication to be given at a slow continuous rate allowing for ongoing IV absorption of the medication.
Oral Chemotherapy Medication
- Oral chemotherapy medications - those that can be swallowed - come in a variety of oral forms (pills, tablets, capsules, liquid), all of which can be absorbed by the stomach or under the tongue.
- Oral chemotherapy medications that are swallowed are encased in a protective coating that is broken down by the digestive juices in the stomach.
- The stomach acids dissolve the coating releasing the medication, which is then absorbed through the lining of the stomach.
- Some medications can be encased in different protective coatings which are released at different times in the system allowing for a time delay, called an extended release. This method allows longer periods of time between doses.
Subcutaneous Injection of Chemotherapy Treatments
- Subcutaneous injections involve the use of a short needle such as those used by diabetics for the injection of insulin.
- With subcutaneous injection of chemotherapy treatment, the needle goes into the space between the skin and muscle but does not enter as far as the muscle layer.
- Subcutaneous chemotherapy injections are commonly used for some types of biologic response modifiers and chemotherapy support drugs. Biologic response modifiers, also called immunotherapy, is a type of treatment that mobilizes the body's immune system to fight cancer. The therapy mainly consists of stimulating the immune system to help it do its job more effectively.